Dread Gods #2 ComicWow! Review

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Ron Marz wrote for Marvel and DC, as well as Top Cow, Image, Valiant, and other labels.  His credits include Witchblade, Silver Surfer, Scion, Artifacts, Sojurn, The Path, Mystic, Batman/Aliens, Stormwatch, Devi, Skylanders, Superboy, John Carter Warlord of Mars, Ion, Thor, Ramayan 3392, Star Wars: Empire, Prophecy, What If? Cosmic Powers: Thanos, Secret Defenders, Shinku, Sadhu, Angelus, and more.  He did a Green Lantern/Silver Surfer crossover, and he also wrote the Emerald Twilight storyline in which he destroyed the Green Lantern Corps and created the character of Kyle Rainer, had an outstanding run on Cyberforce, and contributed to the Marvel/DC crossover in 1996/1997.

Tom Raney worked on Injustice, New Titans, Superman, Justice League, and Green Lantern Corps for DC.  His work for Marvel included X-Men, Thor, Wolverine, X-Factor, Hellbound, Double Dragon, Deathlok, Silver Surfer, and more.  He worked for Image and Dark Horse, too.

In Dread Gods #1, readers were presented with a fascinating hyper-urbanized world. It is not a post-apocalyptic wasteland, nor is it the utopian crystal cities of a more optimistic future.  It’s an overpopulated labor center, and the masses are kept pacified/entertained by a panem et circenses (bread and circuses) virtual colosseum featuring a pantheon of stylized Greek Gods.

The workers and other poor people wait, jostle, and fight for the chance to hook into a VR connection to Zeus, Hera, and other “Greek Gods,” who lead idyllic, adventurous lives, fighting against the forces of Darkness, personified by Hades.

This issue takes place in three different worlds.  In one, the Gods exist, and Zeus has decided to confront Hades directly – and alone.  In another, a disabled mechanic named Carver is heading towards the capitol to save the Gods.  In a third, a mysterious figure named Prometheus manipulates the people and the gods for his own ends.

Marz is gifted in creating complex and layered plotlines.  As in his other writing, he only reveals enough to keep the reader engaged, always saving more for later, and the best for last.

It’s interesting to look at this comic from a meta-level; in some ways, Dread Gods may be a metaphor for our modern obsession with celebrities.  Some people live vicariously through their favorite singers, athletes, actors, etc., rather than being concerned and active in improving their own lot in the world.

Raney’s artwork is outstanding.  He moves seamlessly between heroic fantasy and high tech.  His use of shadow and color is outstanding and impressive. He constantly demonstrates the ability to realistically depict a wide variety of characters.

Marz’s and Rainey’s Dread Gods continues to develop and deepen a complex mystery that works on multiple levels.  It is simultaneously fantasy, science fiction, action, techno thriller, and political metaphor. For people interested in any of these, it is well worth your time. So, head out to your local comic shop and give it a read!

Written by: Ron Marz  

Illustrated by: Tom Raney